from Circuit Court of Sangamon County No. 14CF884 Honorable
John P. Schmidt, Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE DeARMOND delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Turner and Justice Harris
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 In August 2015, a jury found defendant Brandon Matthews
guilty of one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled
substance. The trial court sentenced him to 9½ years
2 On appeal, defendant argues (1) the trial court erred in
admitting hearsay testimony, (2) the court erred in barring
defense counsel from asking about the identity of the
confidential source, (3) the court erred in requiring the
jury to view videos in the courtroom during deliberations,
and (4) certain fines improperly imposed by the circuit clerk
should be vacated. We affirm in part and vacate in part.
3 I. BACKGROUND
4 In September 2014, the grand jury indicted defendant on one
count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance (720
ILCS 570/401(c)(2) (West 2014)), alleging he knowingly and
unlawfully delivered to a confidential source more than 1
gram but less than 15 grams of a substance containing
cocaine. Defendant pleaded not guilty.
5 Defendant's jury trial commenced in August 2015.
Springfield police officer Timothy Zajicek testified he
developed a plan for a confidential source to conduct a
controlled drug buy on June 10, 2014. Zajicek stated the male
individual had "previously provided information about
criminal activity." Prior to the controlled buy, Zajicek
searched the source and provided him with $500 in prerecorded
funds. Zajicek also searched the source's vehicle and
installed two covert video-recording devices.
6 Zajicek stated the source had arranged for the controlled
buy to take place at a gas station. The source sat in the
driver's seat, and Zajicek sat in the front passenger
seat. While waiting for the seller to arrive, the source told
Zajicek that the seller called and said he only had $400
worth of cocaine to sell. The seller arrived and sat in the
rear passenger seat. The source and the seller engaged in an
exchange, with the source receiving a Baggie of crack
cocaine. Zajicek was unable to see the seller's face
because he was sitting right behind him. After looking at the
video from the hidden cameras, Zajicek identified the seller
as defendant. The source drove away and then handed the
Baggie of crack cocaine to Zajicek.
7 On cross-examination, Zajicek stated the video did not
capture the actual drug transaction between defendant and the
source, as the exchange took place "off-frame."
Zajicek stated the video showed defendant's left hand,
holding what appears to be a plastic Baggie, move forward and
then back, with the Baggie no longer visible. Defense counsel
asked Zajicek for the name of the source, but the trial court
sustained the State's objection. Zajicek stated the
source sought consideration on a traffic citation. The $400
in prerecorded funds was not recovered from defendant.
8 Kristin Stiefvater, a forensic scientist with the Illinois
State Police, testified she conducted tests on an off-white
chunky substance, which she found to be 4.9 grams of cocaine.
9 Following closing arguments, the jury retired to deliberate
and later sent a note asking to view the video. The State
indicated it had two views that could be shown. Defense
counsel stated the jurors saw the video during the
evidentiary portion of the trial, as well as during the
State's closing argument, and they should abide by the
instruction to rely on their memories and notes. The trial
court had the jury return to the courtroom to watch the
videos. After the conclusion of the videos, the court
directed the jury to return to the jury room to continue
deliberating. The jury found defendant guilty.
10 In September 2015, defendant filed a posttrial motion,
arguing, inter alia, the State failed to prove him
guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and the trial court erred in
barring the defense from learning the identity of the
confidential source at trial. The court denied the motion.
11 At the October 2015 sentencing hearing, the trial court
sentenced defendant to 9½ years in prison. The court
also ordered defendant to pay a $2000 mandatory drug
assessment, a $100 crime lab fee, a $100 Trauma Center Fund
fee, a $5 Spinal Cord Injury Fund fee, a $25 Criminal Justice
Information Projects Fund fee, a $20 Prescription Pill and
Drug Disposal Fund fee, and a $490 street-value fine. The
court awarded defendant $575 in presentence credit for 115
days spent in custody. This appeal followed.
12 II. ANALYSIS
13 A. Hearsay Testimony
14 Defendant argues the trial court erred in admitting
hearsay testimony from Officer Zajicek over defense
counsel's objection and in failing to conduct a hearing
pursuant to People v. Cameron, 189
Ill.App.3d 998, 546 N.E.2d 259 (1989), on the scope and need
for the hearsay testimony.
15 Initially, we note defendant acknowledges trial counsel
did not raise this issue in a posttrial motion. Thus, the
issue is forfeited on appeal. See People v. Hestand,
362 Ill.App.3d 272, 279, 838 N.E.2d 318, 324 (2005) (a
defendant must object at trial and raise the issue in a
posttrial motion to preserve the issue for review).
Defendant, however, asks this court to review the issue as a
matter of plain error.
16 The plain-error doctrine allows a court to disregard a
defendant's forfeiture and consider unpreserved error in
"(1) where a clear or obvious error occurred and the
evidence is so closely balanced that the error alone
threatened to tip the scales of justice against the
defendant, regardless of the seriousness of the error and (2)
where a clear or obvious error occurred and that error is so
serious that it affected the fairness of the defendant's
trial and challenged the integrity of the judicial
process." People v. Belknap, 2014 IL 117094,
¶ 48, 23 N.E.3d 325.
17 Under both prongs of the plain-error analysis, the burden
of persuasion remains with the defendant. People v.
Wilmington, 2013 IL 112938, ¶ 43, 983 N.E.2d 1015.
As the first step in the analysis, we must determine whether
any error occurred at all. People v. Eppinger, 2013
IL 114121, ¶ 19, 984 N.E.2d 475. "If error did
occur, we then consider whether either prong of the
plain-error doctrine has been satisfied." People v.
Sykes, 2012 IL App (4th) 111110, ¶ 31, 972 N.E.2d
18 "The hearsay rule generally prohibits the
introduction of an out-of-court statement offered to prove
the truth of the matter asserted therein." People v.
Williams, 238 Ill.2d 125, 143, 939 N.E.2d 268, 278
(2010). "The fundamental reason for excluding hearsay is
the lack of an opportunity to cross-examine the
declarant." People v. Jura, 352 Ill.App.3d
1080, 1085, 817 N.E.2d 968, 973-74 (2004). Courts are often
confronted with hearsay when police officers testify about
their investigation of the defendant's alleged crime.
"A police officer may testify as to the steps taken in
an investigation of a crime 'where such testimony is
necessary and important to fully explain the State's case
to the trier of fact.' [Citation.] '[O]ut-of-court
statements that explain a course of conduct should be
admitted only to the extent necessary to provide that
explanation and should not be admitted if they reveal
unnecessary and prejudicial information.' [Citation.]
Testimony about the steps of an investigation may not include
the substance of a conversation with a nontestifying
witness." (Emphasis in original.) People v.
Boling, 2014 IL App (4th) 120634, ¶ 107, 8 N.E.3d
19 In Cameron, 189 Ill.App.3d at 1004, 546 N.E.2d at
263, this court discussed the theory involving the admission
of out-of-court statements to explain a ...